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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

International Documentary Association announces some winners five days early

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is the highlight of the seven categories announced before the 2009 International Documentary Association winners; the top gongs are saved for Friday’s event.
LOS ANGELES, November 30, 2009 — Winners for the International Documentary Association’s 2009 IDA Documentary Awards competition were announced today in several major categories, including Limited Series, Continuing Series, Music, and Student, leaving Feature and Short for the night of the program, to be held December 4th at the Directors Guild Theater in Los Angeles. This year’s Continuing Series Award recognizes the long-running PBS series POV. Produced by American Documentary Inc., and beginning its 22nd season on PBS this year, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. In the Limited Series category, the prize goes to the Sundance Channel’s ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL, a six-part series from creators Awards2009_header.jpgMichael Selditch and Stan Bertheaud following a group of students at Tulane University’s prestigious School of Architecture as they submit competing designs for an affordable home in Katrina-battered New Orleans.
The IDA Music Documentary Award honors Sacha Gervasi’s ANVIL! THE STORY OF ANVIL, which also competes against AFGHAN STAR, DIARY OF A TIMES SQUARE THIEF, FOOD, INC. and MUGABE AND THE WHITE AFRICAN for IDA’s top feature prize. Director Gervasi as well as Anvil’s Steve “Lips” Kudlow and Robb Reiner will be accepting the Music Award. The IDA/Humanitas Award, a new prize established this year and recognizing a film that strives to unify the human family, goes to Mai Iskander’s GARBAGE DREAMS, which follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, on the outskirts of Cairo. Here, the Zaballeen, Arabic for ‘garbage people,’ are suddenly faced with the globalization of its trade.
The IDA/Pare Lorentz Award, in homage to the pioneering filmmaker’s legacy, goes to Irene Taylor Brodsky’s Oscar nominated short THE FINAL INCH, about a vast army of health workers who go door-to-door in some of India’s poorest neighborhoods, ensuring every child is vaccinated for polio. The IDA/ABCNEWS VideoSource Award, for best use of archival news footage, goes to WOUNDED KNEE, an episode in the “We Shall Remain” series produced by WGBH with Native American Public Television, and produced and directed by Stanley Nelson.

IDA continues to recognize the next generation of documentary filmmakers with its prestigious David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award. This year’s prize has been awarded to Stanford University’s Peter Jordan for his short documentary THE FIRST KID TO LEARN ENGLISH FROM MEXICO, the story of 9-year-old Pedro’s reluctant journey through elementary school in pursuit of the American Dream.
Presenters for this year’s Awards include composer Philip Glass, The Office’s Rainn Wilson, Food Inc. director Robert Kenner and the Sundance Institute’s Cara Mertes. Current Media’s Laura Ling and Euna Lee will introduce a special tribute to filmmakers and journalists who displayed conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth.
This year’s IDA Documentary Awards, hosted by This American Life’s Ira Glass and honoring the legendary Errol Morris, are sponsored by HBO Documentary Films, Current Media, Planet Green, Sony Pictures Classics, Sundance Channel, ABCNews Videosource, Moxie Pictures, Participant Media, POV, Skywalker Sound, SnagFilms, Kodak, the Directors Guild of America, The Standard, Derby Wine Estates, The Spot Gourmet and Monster Energy.
Tickets for the 2009 IDA Documentary Awards are available at
The IDA is a nonprofit, membership organization based in Los Angeles. The organization was founded in 1982 to promote and celebrate nonfiction filmmakers and is dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of the documentary genre. For more information about IDA visit or call 213-534-3600.
(A list of winners follows)
Executive Director: Simon Kilmurry
Vice President: Cynthia López
American Documentary, Inc.; PBS
Episodes Submitted:
(Dir./Prod.: James Moll; Prod.: Christopher Pavlick; Exec. Prods.: Chris Malachowsky, Ryan Malachowsky)
Campaign (Dir./Prod.: Kazuhiro Soda)
Up the Yangtse (Dir.: Yung Chang; Prods.: Mila Aung-Thwin, Germaine Ying-Gee Wong, John Christou; Exec. Prods.: Daniel Cross, Mila Aung-Thwin, Ravida Din, Sally Bochner)
Architecture School
Director/Executive Producer/Original Concept: Michael Selditch
Original Concept: Stan Bertheaud
Senior Producer: Rob Tate
Producer: Rachel Clift
Executive Producers: Lynne Kirby, Laura Michalchyshyn
Sundance Channel
Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Director: Sacha Gervasi
Producer: Rebecca Yeldham
Little Dean’s Yard; Ahimsa Films; Abramorama; VH1
Garbage Dreams
Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Writer: Mai Iskander
Executive Producer: Tiffany Schauer
Editor/Co-Producer: Kate Hirson
Iskander Films in co-production with MotiveArt in association with Chicken &
Egg Pictures/Films Transit International
The Final Inch
Director/Producer: Irene Taylor Brodsky
Producer: Tom Grant
Vermilion Pictures;; HBO Documentary Films
Wounded Knee
Director/Producer: Stanley Nelson
Executive Producers: Sharon Grimberg, Mark Samels
Writer: Marcia Smith
Firelight Media; American Experience; WGBH; Native American Public Television
The First Kid to Learn English from Mexico
Director/Producer: Peter Jordan
Localfilms; Stanford University

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon